The Dalai Lama Explained: The Last Lama?

published on July 20, 2020

Tenzin gyatso better known as the Dalai Lama is the surprisingly social media savvy spiritual leader of the Tibetan people you've probably seen him around maybe giving a speech to the UN or chatting on late-night talk shows though our stereotypical idea of

Buddhists might lead us to believe that he's a serene and serious kind of guy he's actually kind of funny if you've watched any interviews of him but for the Chinese government he is anything but funny they see him as a politically

Subversive figure that threatens their authority and if the Chinese government gets their way they would love to choose the next Dalai Lama however the Dalai Lama himself has signaled that he might be the last one

So what even is the Dalai Lama and why does Tenzin Gyatso think that the succession of the Dalai Lama must end in Tibetan Buddhism a Lama is a spiritual teacher and ritual expert lamas fulfill all types of roles for

Their local community ranging from religious teaching to even astrology and divining the Dalai Lama Dalai meaning big is the title conferred to the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people Tenzin is the 14th man to

Hold the title but the role stretches back to the 15th century throughout most of the Dalai Lama's history they were just as much political leaders as they were spiritual leaders hanging out in the highest echelon of power with Mongol

Chieftains and Chinese emperors the fifth Dalai Lama also known as the great fifth is among the most famous a 17th century ruler of Tibet who forged the Dalai Lama into a political dynasty the current Dalai Lama is no political

Slouch himself though when the People's Republic of China invaded Tibet in the 1950s he tried to negotiate even travelling to Beijing to talk to Mao Zedong himself however diplomacy broke down and in 1959 fearing kidnapping by

The Chinese government he escaped into India and formed a government in exile he has been living there ever since then despite his past as a political leader he's actually given up his political powers in 2011 and has focused on

Religious and ethical teaching but even as a religious leader he's not comparable to the Pope and Catholicism he's not the head of all Buddhists just like any religion Buddhism is a complex religion that takes many forms you have

Japanese Buddhism in sri lankan tera vaada buddhism some scholars categorized Tibetan Buddhism as a distinct branch called Vajrayana Buddhism fad Rhianna is historically linked to the largest

Branch of Buddhism called Mahayana and the succession of the Dalai Lama draws inspiration from the Mahayana conception of the Bodhisattva exemplary beings dedicated to attaining Buddhahood and showing compassion for other beings

Tibetan Buddhists believed that the Dalai Lama reincarnates as a child when he dies now Buddhists in general believe that all sentient beings reincarnate but most beings can't remember their past lives only exceptional people can

Remember and some called – coos can direct their reincarnation establishing a lineage of famous Lamas that stretch back through the ages though it's impossible to know for sure at least some scholars estimate that there are at

Least 10,000 – coos some are heads of monasteries or important religious orders but the Dali Lama is the most important lineage of tole coos the Tibetans have an elaborate process of identifying and testing the successor in

The case of the 13th Dalai Lama he predicted that he would reincarnate somewhere in eastern Tibet after his death high-ranking lamas traveled there and they found the young Tenzin as the candidate for the 14th Dalai Lama

Following a series of tests one of which being the kid recognising the prayer beads and walking stick of the thirteenth Dalai Lama they concluded that he is the same being the 13th Dalai Lama reincarnated in this child

However the succession is under threat because of his history of anti Chinese resistance in Tibet the Chinese government has long worked to undermine the Dalai Lama's Authority they've banned displaying a photograph of the

Dalai Lama they've launched re-education campaigns that forced Tibetan dissenters to repeat statements like I opposed the Dalai clique and I love the Communist Party and they even gone as far as to say that they alone have the authority

To name the successor of the Dalai Lama in a 20-17 press conference a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the title of Dalai Lama itself is granted by China's central government and they've shown more than enough willingness to try to

Meddle with the reincarnation of lamas in 1995 when the Dalai Lama named a six-year-old boy as the successor for the Panchen Lama the second most important spiritual

Leader after the Dalai Lama the Chinese government abducted the kid and named their own Punch and Lama to this day Tenzin's choice for the Panchen Lama remains in custody and there's a good chance that the Chinese government will

Try to do the exact same thing with the Dalai Lama succession but the succession of the Dalai Lama might be in jeopardy because he himself might choose to be the last one stretching back to the 1970s he's been floating the idea again

And again that he might be the last Dalai Lama and a 2014 interview at the BBC he said the Dalai Lama institution will cease one day these man-made institutions will cease there is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama

Won't come next who will disgrace himself or herself so much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama the Chinese regional governor of Tibet in 2015 dismissed the Dalai Lama's claim

Saying it's not up to him and the Dalai Lama must be chosen with the approval of the central government the Dalai Lama has tried to head off the possibility of the Chinese government usurping the position arguing that he alone has the

Authority whether or not to reincarnate and that no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone including in the People's Republic of China but at the time of making this video we just

Don't know what's gonna happen the Dalai Lama has not yet made his intentions clear he does say that he'll leave written instructions and he has said that he will definitely reincarnate outside of Tibet but the Chinese

Government probably has their own plans too in short this is another example of politics and religion being intertwined as a historically political figure the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is not just a matter of theology and doctrine

It has major implications for the future of the Tibetan people and the future of religious freedom rights in China I have sources in the description below if you'd like to do some more research as always thanks for watching and I'll see

You next time hey everyone so I did this video in collaboration with step back history he's an awesome youtuber focuses on history and a little bit of religion as well if you head over to his channel

Right now you'll see his Buddhism explained video check it out as always thanks for watching I'll see you next time you

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